The right wing “Weekly Standard” features a story headlined “Federal Employees Union Says Obamacare Could ‘Hurt’ Members”.
Yikes! Did they really say that?
The writer is referring to a item posted on the web site of the National Treasury Employees Union, which lists proposed legislation that could hurt its members. The Affordable Care Act, passed six years ago, is not one of them. NTEU members, like all Americans, are already covered by the ACA, or “Obamacare”. The ACA requires that they have health insurance. NTEU members, like postal workers and most other Americans, already have health insurance provided by their employer.
The bill the NTEU warns its members about is not Obamacare. It’s a bill that would eliminate federal workers’ employer provided health insurance. Golly- why on earth would they be upset about that?
Among the bills is H.R. 1780, sponsored by Michigan Republican Dave Camp. The NTEU says the bill could hurt workers because it would "require most federal employees to leave the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program…and instead join health plans established under the Affordable Care Act."
The Weekly Standard writer doesn’t explain why he finds this surprising, or even interesting. Maybe the Weekly Standard doesn’t provide health insurance for its employees, so it’s a simple case of envy? Until recently, it seemed that employer provided health insurance was the norm in this country. So why would Republicans want to eliminate that benefit for one group of workers?
Republicans would claim that it’s a matter of “fairness”. Camp’s spokesperson was quoted as saying “If the Obamacare exchanges are good enough for the hardworking Americans and small businesses the law claims to help, then they should be good enough for… federal employees”. (We apparently are not “hardworking”? Obamacare only applies to “hardworking” Americans?! Who knew??) If that’s the case, then why stop with federal workers? Why not force everyone to get their health insurance through “Obamacare”, and make employer provided health insurance illegal? Wouldn’t that be really fair? Well of course it would! (But can you imagine the reaction from, say, the employees at Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs?)
It obviously has nothing to do with “fairness”. So what’s the real reason? It’s pretty simple.
Republicans don’t like us.
It’s nothing personal- it’s just that they can’t stand having a bunch of people who get good pay and benefits, and who can actually look forward to a reasonably secure retirement, walking around in broad daylight. Especially since many of us belong to unions. We set a bad example for the rest of the workforce, who are increasingly expected to get by on poverty level wages and rely on charities for their health care needs, while the elitists who run the GOP (and to an increasing extent, the Democratic Party) take more and more of the country’s wealth for themselves, and don’t have to worry about being bankrupted by a health care emergency.
It’s the same attitude that gave us the proposal to single out federal workers for extra punishment if they cheat on their income tax. Nothing “fair” about that one either- just one more slap in the face for a group of people who, unlike members of Congress, and the fat cats who support them, actually work for a living.
So no, Weekly Standard, a federal union did NOT say that Obamacare could hurt its members. It said that cutting its members pay and benefits would hurt its members. Which is sort of obvious, isn’t it?